“If I’m a victim, why am I in this jail cell?”

Dear WestCoast Community:

Children who are bought and sold for sex are often arrested for prostitution rather than receiving the protection and support provided to victims of rape and child abuse. At WestCoast, 73% of the youth we serve in our intensive mental health program for commercially sexually exploited youth have been involved in the juvenile justice system as a result of their exploitation.

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After Spending the Most Precious Years of My Life as a Foster Child, I Am Now Changing the System

A powerful article by a former Alameda County Youth Advocate.

“My induction into YAP became the pivotal moment that catapulted my ability to advocate for my own needs and it allowed me to see myself as a social change agent for current foster youth in my community who were struggling with similar issues. The YAP experience inspired me to want more access to macro-level change and micro-level interventions for children and families impacted by the system…”

After Spending the Most Precious Years of My Life as a Foster Child, I Am Now Changing the System; By Joymara Coleman 

Did you write this for me?

Why do I fight with the people I love? Why am I failing my classes?
Why is it so hard for me to make friends?
A new book, Assessing Children in the Urban Community, edited and written by WestCoast staff, describes our collaborative approach to helping children answer questions like these through psychological assessment.

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Latino youths see big rise in psychiatric hospitalizations

The Sacramento Bee reports, “While mental health hospitalizations of young people of all ethnicities have climbed in recent years, Latino rates stand out. Among those 21 and younger, rates shot up 86 percent, to 17,813, between 2007 and 2014, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. That’s compared with a 21 percent increase among whites and 35 percent among African Americans.”